First, Larkin's boys basketball team was cruising with a double-digit lead. Just like that, the Royals lost it. And just like that, they had it back again. They wound up just above the double-digit barrier with a 75-64 win against Belvidere in the Hoops for Healing Tournament at Woodstock Monday night.
Larkin's Quantice Hunter led all scorers with 24 points in the season opener for both teams.
The Royals scored the last 11 points of the first half to lead 36-22 at the break. But the Bucs came back with a vengeance, using runs of 9-0 and 14-2 to take a 55-54 lead by early fourth quarter.
Brayden Royse's only basket of the game put Larkin back ahead to stay, and the Royals slowly rebuilt the lead from there.
That kind of adversity might well pay off down the road.
"In a weird way, I kind of like that we lost the lead," said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. "We saw early (in the season) us respond to some stuff. They're a good team, and we told our guys all week that they're a very good team. They expect to win. So it was good to see us respond when they took the lead."
Andrew Jones grabbed 14 rebounds and added 9 points for Larkin. Quentin Ruff scored 14 points, Kendale McCullum had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Jason Barnhart added 10 points for the Royals.
Josh Hauser led Belvidere with 19 points. His 4 second-half 3-pointers were instrumental in the Bucs' comeback. He hit 2 on back-to-back possessions to give Belvidere its first lead since late in the first quarter.
The Bucs posted solid Byers, with Joe Byers scoring 16 points. Darius Brown added 15 points and grabbed 12 boards for the Bucs.
Both teams came out with a lot of pent-up energy, and both squads had trouble staying under control at times. They combined for 23 first-half turnovers. But the Royals were able to capitalize when they did get opportunities, shooting 47 percent in the first half.